Data Center Power Demands Are Fueling Environmental Emissions; Here’s How to End the Spiral

Paul Gillin

Data centers consume about 3% of global electricity capacity each year and power demand is doubling every four years. The world demand for computing power seems to be insatiable, and billions of smartphones and internet of things devices have fueled the need for increased capacity of the back-end cloud data centers that serve them.

All this demands power. Storage devices, network switches and cell phone towers all consume electricity. Faster processors not only require more power to run but also create the need for bigger air conditioning and liquid cooling systems, which also run on electricity. With 80% of the world’s electricity supply generated by fossil fuels, the environmental impact of computing growth is becoming more severe.

Fortunately, solutions are emerging. Highly efficient “lights out” data centers that use cooling from natural resources are significantly reducing overhead costs. In many areas, solar, wind and nuclear power are viable power-generation alternatives. Some data centers are even being built to run on 100% renewable energy.

In this episode of Modern Governance, we’re joined by Kevin Hagen, Vice President Environment, Social & Governance Strategy at Iron Mountain. He discusses the factors driving rapid growth in computer-fueled power demand, the environmental impact and how new data center designs are reducing or even eliminating the need for fossil fuel-based energy.

Organizations mentioned in this podcast:

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